My generation is getting married, just not the way their parents did

 

PICTURE PERFECT: John Paul Rivera and Mimi Miaco
PICTURE PERFECT: John Paul Rivera and Mimi Miaco

Millennials have long been accused of ruining various industries - the wedding industry included. But that doesn't mean they aren't getting hitched

By Keith Pereña

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Published: Fri 28 Jun 2019, 12:00 AM

Last updated: Fri 5 Jul 2019, 1:19 PM

People who are in their 20s and early 30s may have heard of the label 'millennial' spoken of with a certain derision. Why wouldn't they? This generation - my generation - has been blamed for the fall of many industries, from motorcycles to casual dining and traditional weddings.
Let's talk about the weddings. According to a survey from wedding website The Knot, couples are increasingly moving away from banquet halls and hotel reception rooms in favour of more unconventional venues. In the same vein, Business Insider reports that couples of this day and age are opting for more casual arrangements and even fund their own weddings. "Ten years ago, brides and grooms were relying on their parents to solely fund weddings; now, people are empowered by doing what they want to do and they want it to be a reflection of who they are," the report said.
WKND spoke to three young couples to explore how this generation is getting married today. You may even get some ideas for your own!

Mimi Miaco, 27, and John Paul "JP" Rivera, 28
Over the past couple of weeks, former Dubai expat Mimi and budding businessman John Paul's wedding became the talk of town in the Philippines. Local media focused a lot on the multiple unorthodox choices the couple made for their big day - from serving street food to having tattoos for rings, cutting flowers out of the equation and a whole lot more.
Despite the long list of unusual arrangements, the couple said that none of it came out of a conscious choice to be rebellious. "It wasn't really about being 'wedding rebels'," explains Mimi. "I didn't have a dream wedding in mind, nor did JP. We just knew what we did and didn't want, and we stuck with it."
Every unusual arrangement had a thought process behind it. We first spoke about the tattoos in lieu of traditional wedding rings. Says Mimi, "We opted for tattoo rings that say 'palagi', a Filipino word that means 'always.' For us, it means always choosing each other." Their hand-painted outfits for the day were not only an eclectic design choice, but a subtle way of bucking traditional wedding norms.
"I painted my dress with waves, because I believe women were never meant to be tamed," says the new bride. "Like waves, I can be calm. I can be restless. I am anything but pure. I also painted my husband's tie with clouds. We're both nature lovers, so what we wore reflected that."
The couple also veered away from traditions they believed to contain sexist origins in the hopes of having a more open and inclusive wedding. Mimi didn't wear a veil or a garter and even asked her parents not to hand her over to JP. The pastor who led the ceremony also spoke more on love and equality rather than the roles of husband and wife.
Leaving her final thoughts on their wedding day, Mimi defined it in one word: "It was very 'us'. No matter where you looked, every detail effortlessly radiated ourselves." She urges couples to find the details that resonate with who they are and the love they share with their partners. "Prioritise that over any other voice. You owe it to yourselves to follow what you really want."

Cholo, 30, and Rosan Juan, 31
Apart from keeping personalisation and individual expression at the fore, a common thread among the weddings of this generation would be the more intimate arrangements, characterised by the number of guests in attendance - or rather, the lack thereof. One such example of this is Dubai-based couple Cholo and
Rosan Juan, who tied the knot in December 2017. Their 'microwedding' only had 20 guests in attendance. "Cholo and I decided to have a microwedding, with just 20 people - including us - because we wanted to focus on being married as opposed to getting married. We couldn't afford a big wedding, but we also wanted to tie the knot, so we worked with what we had," says Rosan.
True to their word, the Juan's wedding day had everything a traditional wedding had - only pared down to the very basics. "We had a few flowers, a small reception, the officiating reverend, but no entourage. Our first dance as husband and wife was very comical, because we danced randomly to some music bouncing off a nearby Christmas party taking place beside the café where we held our dinner reception."
With such a limited guest list, Rosan says they are fortunate to have a lot of understanding people in their lives. "We chose our closest and neutral friends. Those we left out were also close to us, but they understood - albeit felt sad they weren't able to witness our union." Rosan adds that a bigger wedding may still be on the cards for them in the future.
Commenting on the seeming trend of unorthodox weddings, he says, "If it's not for financial reasons, it's because our generation is about creative self-expression and always wanting to be unique." She also clarifies that smaller weddings don't necessarily equate to a terrible time. "You don't need a big party. If you choose to have one, great! But if you can't, it doesn't mean your marriage will turn out poorly. Clichéd as it may sound, I'd say: save up for your marriage rather than your wedding."

Marj and Julian Suarez, 26
How does love flourish from halfway across the world? That was the question Marj and Julian answered when they tied the knot in October last year, after being in a long-distance relationship for almost three years. The couple got married in the garden of a church in the US, where they are now based. "We did consider traditional venues and even visited a couple of locations but, after much thought, decided that using the church property and decorating everything from scratch was the way we wanted to go," Julian said.
It's also worth noting that the duo only had a month-and-a-half to plan their big day. Owing to their situation, Marj says her family and friends from Dubai weren't able to attend. But this turned out to be something of a silver lining, as it helped them decide to opt out of a traditional wedding. "Because none of my friends made it to our wedding, we made sure that the people we invited were those who reached out to me during our long-distance relationship, those who took time to get to know me, and those who were close to Julian from the very beginning," Marj says. With such a short timeframe, the couple had to keep things simple, hence the lack of any bridesmaids or groomsmen.
Asked about their thoughts on traditional weddings, the couple emphasise that it all boils down to individual preferences. "I don't think people my age shy away from traditional weddings. At the end of the day, it's the preference of the couple. My husband and I both knew what we wanted for our special day, so we opted for what we wanted - not what others wanted, because we were the ones getting married!" Marj explains.
Julian also offers some practical advice. "I think, nowadays, if you want to have a full-on traditional wedding, it's going to cost most than most people can afford. If a person can create their dream wedding without spending an arm and a leg and, yet, feel super happy, then it's 100 per cent worth it" he adds.
To keep costs down and be unique, the couple also opted for a lot of DIY. "We took a lot of inspiration from Pinterest and our favourite store at the time, which was Michael's. If we saw it on Pinterest and knew we could make it, we did it. Designs that would cost a lot, we paid next to nothing for, because we did it ourselves," Julian notes.
Marj echoes his sentiments when she advises that couples need not break the bank when it comes to the big day. "You don't have to spend a lot of money to achieve the wedding of your dreams. It does take two to tango, and that applies to wedding planning too. Be wise with your decisions. Do you really need an expensive dress, cake and venue?"  
keith@khaleejtimes.com

KEEPING IT INTIMATE: Cholo and Rosan opted for not more than 20 guests
KEEPING IT INTIMATE: Cholo and Rosan opted for not more than 20 guests
SILVER LINING: Marj and Julian kept costs down by opting for a lot of DIY elements
SILVER LINING: Marj and Julian kept costs down by opting for a lot of DIY elements


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